Renewables are Over 40% of New Generating Capacity in the U.S. for the First 3/4 of the Year, According to the SUN DAY Campaign.

According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) account for more than two-fifths (40.61%) of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity put in-service during the first nine months of 2014.

Only natural gas provided more new generating capacity.

For the month of September alone, renewables accounted for over two-thirds of the 603 MW of new generating capacity put in-service [367 MW of wind (60.86%) plus 41 MW of solar (6.80%)].

Of the 8,860 MW of new generating capacity from all sources installed since January 1, 2014, 187 "units" of solar accounted for 1,671 MW (18.86%), followed by 28 units of wind 1,614 MW (18.22%), 7 units of hydropower 141 MW (1.59%), 38 units of biomass 140 MW (1.58%), and 5 units of geothermal 32 MW (0.36%).

The balance came from 41 units of natural gas 5,153 MW (58.16%), 1 unit of nuclear 71 MW (0.80%), 11 units of oil 33 MW (0.37%), and 6 units of "other" 7 MW (0.08%). There has been no new coal capacity added thus far in 2014.

Comparing the first nine months of 2014 to the same period in 2013, new generating capacity from renewable energy sources grew by 11.8% (3,598 MW vs. 3,218 MW).

Renewable energy sources now account for 16.35% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S. - up from 15.68% a year earlier: water - 8.45%, wind - 5.35%, biomass - 1.38%, solar - 0.84%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%. Renewable energy capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.23%) and oil (3.97%) combined. *

(* Note that generating capacity is not the same as actual generation. Generation per MW of capacity (i.e., capacity factor) for renewables is often lower than that for fossil fuels and nuclear power. Actual net electrical generation from renewable energy sources now totals about 14% of total U.S. electrical production according to the most recent data (i.e., as of July 2014) provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (see: http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly); however, this figure almost certainly understates renewables' actual contribution because EIA does not fully account for all electricity generated by distributed renewable energy sources, like home rooftop solar.)

The SUN DAY Campaign is a non-profit research and educational organization founded in 1992 to aggressively promote sustainable energy technologies as cost-effective alternatives to nuclear power and fossil fuels.

 

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